Nearly 30,000 Cobb voters have already cast ballots in runoff election

Credit: Reann Huber

Credit: Reann Huber

Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified the date that absentee ballots must be postmarked by to be counted. Only absentee ballots postmarked by Tuesday, Dec. 4, and received by Friday, Dec. 7, will be counted.

Nearly 30,000 Cobb County voters have voiced their opinions during the early voting period of the runoff midterm election, said county elections head Janine Eveler.

These numbers are from Cobb's five days of in-person early voting ahead of the Dec. 4 election day. Atop the ballot is the secretary of state runoff between Republican Brad Raffensperger and Democrat John Barrow.

During the three weeks of early voting for the main election, more than 137,000 people voted early or by absentee, according to a report by the elections office.

In all, there were 310,000 Cobb ballots cast. That's about 64 percent of the county's registered voters.

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It was an energized and controversial election season, headlined by a gubernatorial race that threw into question the voting process itself.

“The quick turnaround has certainly been challenging,” Eveler said Monday.

She said her biggest concern for this runoff is for those who asked for an absentee ballot but either haven’t had time to receive it or they chose to vote at the poll instead.

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Absentee ballots usually must be received by Election Day to be counted, but, as reported last week, a federal judge approved a consent order between recently appointed Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden and state Democrats who brought a lawsuit because dozens of counties sent out such ballots late.

So, for this election only, absentee ballots postmarked by Tuesday, Dec. 4, and received by Friday, Dec. 7, will be counted.

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Eveler has suggestions: “If the voter doesn’t want to chance it and decides to vote at the poll instead, the fastest way to cancel the absentee ballot is for the voter to bring the ballot with them and surrender it to the poll manager. Otherwise if they don’t have the ballot with them, the poll manager can still call the office to determine whether the ballot has already been received.”

As of this past Friday, she said, about 13,000 absentee ballots had been issued and just over 4,000 returned.

She said voters who have a school as a precinct would be smart to be mindful of morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal times for students.

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